Is Winning Really Everything?

Liverpool might miss out on the title but one Mailboxer wonders whether that matters. Thoughts on inventive FFP punishments, dropping Rooney and Wayne Bridge...

Last Updated: 07/05/14 at 09:41

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On Liverpool Overachievement
"LFC have massively overachieved in a season when lots of others have really underachieved. Let's see if they have another season like this one next year or even in the next 20 years as soon as the other big guns have recouped." - Rachel

Yes it is very apt to consider that Liverpool have overachieved and they will probably not challenge as strong next season, but to say that 'lots of others have really underachieved' it a bit of a stretch. With one or two games left in the season, Arsenal, Man. City and Chelsea have all bettered their respective points total on last season; with the latter two fairing a lot better in Europe. This coincides with Southampton, Stoke and Everton posting record points totals with a game each left to play, and Newcastle, in woeful form of late, still eight points better off than last season.

This leaves only two teams in the top half of the table to regress on last season; a Tottenham team that are six points off their highest ever Premier League points total,achieved last season (and to be fair, managed by Tim fackin' Sherwood), with a game to play, and a Man. Utd. team that have by definition,'really underachieved'.

Your mail tries to belittle Liverpool's title challenge, (and all footballers for recognising a quality footballer over a quality person). However, Liverpool have competed (with aid from lack of European football no doubt) for a title in what seems to be a somewhat stronger top half of the Premier League than last season's affair. Yes it will be tough for Liverpool to compete as well next season, but that will have more to do with the continued development of all the top teams and not the recouping of the 'big guns'.
Conor, Dublin

...At the halfway point this season the League was a 3-horse race. Liverpool weren't one of those horses.

A couple of weeks later it was about whether or not the signing of Juan Mata and the new 'fab 4' could get Manchester Utd into the top 4. This was, presumably, to be at the expense of Liverpool. Eight weeks ago it had become about whether or not it was better to be Chelsea at the top, or, as Mourinho claimed, in City's position with the games in hand.
Around the same time jokes were still being made about Liverpool finishing 4th then seeing Manchester Utd win the Champions League to deprive them of a place in next season's competition. It wasn't until the end of March and Liverpool thrashed Spurs (have Spurs half a dozen vines for that?...) that Liverpool were being taken seriously as title contenders.

Yet here we are six days from the end of the season with Liverpool top and likely to finish second. Of course it's disappointing when the opportunity to win the League had been earned. Of course Monday's implosion was gut wrenching. But, do you know what? I saw a team that decided to take it into their own hands, that left everything on the pitch in the pursuit of glory and burned out in the process - a team that went double or quits at 3-0 knowing that sticking likely won nothing. And I'm delighted they tried.

Liverpool have been the best thing about this season - not City never reaching the peak of their abilities, certainly not Mourinho's increasingly tired act and not Arsenal's successful quest for fourth. So some regret, a lot of pride and, to anyone who isn't a City fan, I'll take Liverpool's season over any of yours, thanks very much.
Daniel Sexton

...Ok. First of all Rodgers has massively overachieved on what everyone, including Rodgers, was saying Liverpool could do at the start of the season. We have given City a massive run for their money, more than Chelsea or any of the other top teams could do. Playing faithfully to Rodgers style of football we have been rampant. The defense has been shoddy at times but that has generally been more than outweighed by the fantastic attacking football.

What has cost us the league has been individual errors at the squeaky bum end of the season. We all know about Gerard's slip in the Chelsea game that gave them the breakthrough and then his bad pass, coupled with poor positioning from Johnson and Skrtel gave the draw to Palace. In both games, we ended up losing our heads (oddly enough, it has been the most experienced players doing this). I believe that if the players had kept their heads in both games and stuck to the fast but controlled sublime attacking that put us in this position, we could have won both games.

The idea that Rodgers should have parked a bus against Palace, or played for a draw against Chelsea is correct for most teams but not for this Liverpool team. They are built to attack and going out for a draw would be a sure way for us to lose as we are not draw merchants like Chelsea or anyone else. We need a bit more balance in that our defence needs a few players but the style is right and they were right to stick to it. I've seen people saying we were arrogant to go for the goal difference when we were 3 up against palace, but I'm delighted they tried to take things into their own hands. 3 points would have put a little bit of pressure on City, but if we had pulled the goal difference down to 6 they would have had a lot more to worry about going into the last two games.

Fair dues to City, they have been the better team by that crucial 1-2% and we can learn from them by having defenders who make fewer mistakes.Next season we won't be so easy to pick off on the counter while Chelsea will be just as easy unless they find a new lone striker in the ilk of Drogba. Our fantastic young players will have matured a lot after a summer of reflection on this experience. We'll be attacking just as fast but with more control and while we'll have more games to play the squad is young enough to do so and we won't be losing out on players like Willian for want of Champion's League football. Everyone else will strengthen, just like we will, but I think it will be between us and City again next season.

Credit to City and their fans for holding their powder till its won, pithy much for fans of the teams below us in the table to suggest we should play more like their teams?
James (Cork)


Not All About Winning
The very fact that people are still harping on about "Keegan's Newcastle team of the 90s" means that team has not been forgotten and, for fans of a certain age, is something to look back to fondly. Perhaps always will be. Ah, the days of Sir Les, Gorgeous David, thunderous Philippe Albert, mad Faustino, peerless Beardsley...

On the other hand, no one apart from Chelsea fans would bring on "the fabled Chelsea team of the mid noughties", even though they ended up with far more trophies.

So in a way, moral victory for Kevin Keegan here.

Maybe winning isn't everything?
Mike (Not even a Toon fan)


Bridge Over Troubled Water
Yesterday we saw one of the games last great full-backs duck out of the game. In an age where there are very few top players at left-back or right-back, who possess that intuitive knowledge of both attack and defence, he will be sorely missed.

He won everything he possibly could at club level, contributing immeasurably to his team. Its a shame his international team never lived up to expectations.
Goodbye, and thanks, Wayne Bridge.
Cal, BWFC (Zanetti could have gone on)


Drop Rooney
Right now the seasons all but finished, lets talk about the main event! Just as an experiment, surely Rooney should be dropped, not rested or kept safe, but dropped. F365's ladder summed it up perfectly, no shots on target in 3 games, and no goals against the top half, not the top 6 or 4, but the top half! That, in a word, is bobbins.

Now before the 'most gifted' argument comes in, I think we need to analyse what makes him this way, what was there when Rooney was on top of his game, several years ago. He needs to get back to wanting to prove something, he needs the hunger again. I think if the young upstart Rooney saw himself now he'd be very pleased with his bank account and little else. This is a career that is stagnating and declining at the same time, he has rested on his laurels for far too long and I cant see him turning in the exceptional tournament performance he and England need in order for us to progress into July.

Now it may be too little too late, and we may have the wrong man in charge to do it, but throw in some friendly performances where England play well up top without him, where suddenly he may feel his place isn't a cert, and we may spark that something we need. No doubting the quality is there, I hate his team as much as anyone, but to question the quality is biased nonsense, but questioning its presence is perfectly valid and long overdue. Roy needs to step up in order for Wayne to do the same.
Dave, Lostwithiel


Wacko Jacko
Some pretty serious accusations from Mohammed Al Fayed...

Apparently the reason Fulham were relegated was due to the removal of their infamous Michael Jackson statue.

So Burnley and Leicester now know what to do to stay up.

May I suggest both clubs erect statues of bassists? Perhaps Leicester-born John Illssey of Dire Straits and Burnley-born Eric Haydock of the Hollies.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Lose Right To Extra-Time With FFP...
In light of recent developments and at least some progress on the punishment of violation of FFP rules, I am not really sure a fine of 50 Million is going to cause a big concern for CIty. But I guess that is the most practical punishment they could come up with given the circumstances. Outright banning them was never going to happen.

I have an addition to make to the punishments. Many of the champions league matches end up in a tie and are decided by either head to head or GD in group stages and Extra time + Penalties in knockout stages. How about you lose this privilege if you violate FFP. If you have overspent, you need to win all your matches (maybe we can relax this from semi-finals onwards) to keep going forward. In case of tie in points, draw on aggregate, the other teams goes through no matter what.

I think it's a fair and practical punishment and can be implemented without raising hell. What does the mailbox think?
Avinash Joshi, Bangalore, India

...Or Two Points For A Win?
Regarding City set to be fined due to FFP ( and probably PSG and others), I believe the internet are in an agreement by saying that money fines are not worth it (due to their rich owners).

What about this: Let them play with current squad and dont restrict any player whatsoever (25 to 21) or etc, but how about for each of their win, they will collect only 2 points?

Mathematically they can still progress to the next round if they won (5 matches now instead of the standard 3+1 to get the normally magic ten points).

It's one of the way of punishing those who *cheats* to play football - by asking them to play "more" football - but under even more harsh conditions.

What say you?
Syfq Amr, Malaysia.


We Feel Ill
Goodbye Nemanja
Goodbye my friend
You were the only one
The only one for me
Michael Scott

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